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How to Put a Baby to Sleep, Step by Gentle Step


By Sarah Parker Ward

Nighttime is a great opportunity to spend quality time with your little one, reflecting on your day together and the love you share. Still, getting baby to sleep through the night can be a feat all its own. This 30-minute routine will get everyone in the right frame of mind! 

Give Baby a Bath
Running a baby bath is a great way to get him or her in a relaxed mindset. The warm water can help the little one calm down and a lavender-infused shampoo or soap will further lull your precious one into a peaceful state. Learn how to bathe a baby and additional baby bathing tips here(10 minutes)

Give Baby a Massage
After bath time, spend a little time giving baby a gentle massage before getting him or her dressed into soft jammies. Start by turning down the lights and putting on gentle music, such as lullabies or a soft symphony. Rub a quarter size drop of baby oil between your hands, and then slowly rub baby’s arms, legs and back. Here’s a thorough guide on how to massage baby. (8 minutes)

Swaddling and PJ's
After the soothing massage, dress baby in weather-appropriate jammies. For infants younger than 3 months, make Act 2 of their PJ's a swaddle. Swaddling in a receiving blanket or in a specially made swaddling wrap can help re-create the comforting feeling of the womb and is widely supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The added security of a wrap can give baby the peace of mind he or she needs to let go. (5 minutes)

For a safe, comfortable swaddle, follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Lay the receiving blanket down as a diamond to your body and fold over the point farthest away from you. 
  • Step 2: Lay baby so his or her neck is on the fold you just created and baby’s body runs down toward the point closest to you. 
  • Step 3: Fold the right side of the blanket over baby to the left and tuck the point in behind the little one. Fold up the bottom and finish by wrapping the left side of the blanket snuggly around to the right. 

Read a Baby Bedtime Story
Once baby is wrapped as snug as a bug in a rug — simply slide your hand between the swaddle and baby’s chest to ensure it’s not too snug — spend quiet time boosting baby’s development with a bedtime story. Hold baby close and read him or her a favorite short book in a calming tone. A book about bedtime itself may help baby associate the words to the actions, further developing your little one’s cognitive skills. Be sure baby has a line of sight to the book’s pages, but don’t force baby to look in that direction if he or she would rather snuggle in. (7 minutes)

Put Baby Down to Sleep!
When baby is drowsy, place him or her in the crib and let baby fall asleep on your precious one’s own. Be sure that when you place baby in the crib the area is free of pillows, bulky blankets or stuffed animals that could pose hazards. Remember to always put baby to sleep on his or her back. If you have a baby monitor, turn it on and while baby sleeps, find the time to get your own sleep in!

Find more health and wellness information for you and your baby in our Baby & Child section. 

Aside from the JOHNSON'S® Brand, third-party references and links provided in this article are for educational purposes only. No sponsorship or endorsement is implied. Information was used from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

©Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. 2016

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